10th Mountain

I really wish you would find something else to do. With all the sickness going on now, go help someone. There’s nothing wrong with someone praying anywhere anytime.
Please go give mouth to mouth to a black mamba.

(name withheld)
Rangers Lead The Way

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere

On Apr 23, 2020, at 4:00 PM, John Compere wrote:


(name withheld),
For your information, the US Constitution, American law & US Armed Forces regulations prohibit the military, as part of our government, from promoting or endorsing a religion, except in military chapels or military chapel channels. Military chaplains may not proselytize their version of religion as official military sponsored religion in official military channels. That is why the improper practice was stopped by the military itself.
Even 1st President & Commander-in-Chief George Washington recognized the problem when he wrote Congress that the military chaplaincy “…has a tendency to introduce religious disputes into the Army, which above all things should be avoided, and in many instances would compel men to a mode of Worship which they do not profess.”
Your malevolent message is moronically misdirected & would be more rationally redirected at those who disrespect & disregard the laws & regulations rather than at those of us who respect & request compliance with them.
Brigadier General John Compere, US Army (Retired)
Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam Era)
Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

I should have known. A one Star and done. Carry on.
(name withheld)

Response from MRFF Board Member John Compere

On Apr 23, 2020, at 4:16 PM, John Compere  wrote:

The very definition of a republic is “…a nation of laws and not of man.” – 2nd President & Commander-in-Chief John Adams (“Thoughts on Government”, 1776)

On Apr 23, 2020, at 6:44 PM, Martin France wrote:

Dear (name withheld).  Thanks for you email.  I occasionally answer notes such as yours for the MRFF as a member of our Advisory Board.  Actually, I think I can speak for the entire MRFF staff (at least for Mikey and me) when I say that we doing exactly as you describe.  I for one am helping my son and daughter-in-law keep their business alive.  My wife and I are also helping her parents stay safe and well-stocked with groceries.  We’re helping everyone by otherwise staying home and physically distanced.  I’ve also been contacted by the Pentagon and asked if I would be interested in volunteering to return to active duty to serve on the AF’s CoVID19 task force.  I immediately volunteered and am still waiting to hear back from the for some definitive answer (I don’t think they’ll need me).  What are you doing to help?  I’m sure you’re deeply involved in some way or another. You state “There’s nothing wrong with someone praying anywhere anytime.”  Actually, that’s not true in EVERY instance.  Ignoring a commander’s order to “Charge” by saying that you need to stay behind and pray isn’t okay.  Joining hands and praying in a public group given social distancing restrictions in force in many parts of the country right now is not okay.  Private prayer, though, is fine–so long as it is private and does not endanger others.  There are other times when prayer isn’t always okay.  For example, if a commander decides that everyone in his meeting or unit or command must join hands with him or her and follow along while they lead a prayer, well, that’s wrong.  A commander can’t impose their religious views or customs on their subordinates, no matter how well-intentioned they might be.
So, while we all have plenty to do, we will continue to defend the rights of all to serve in the military whether they pray or not.  That’s our job and we think it’s vitally important.  We’ll pass on the mouth-to-mouth, though, with any snake or Ranger, given the CoVID19 situation.
Thanks again for your note, and please stay healthy.  Remember:  Science saves lives!
M France, Brig Gen, USAF (Retired)
MRFF Advisory Board

There’s a lot of BS in your comments sir. The time to prayer is before you go on a mission as a group. To your god as you proceed. From talking with Mikey, all he wants is someone to say they will kick his ass on record and to antagonize.

I retired from the Army in 2003. Prayer was never forced on me or interfered with my mission. I then went on and worked another 10 years for the DIA. 
I’ve been volunteering with a volunteer fire station as a driver and EMT. Hands on sir. I’ve always worked at a high level with high level people. Prayer has never gotten in my way or my teams way. 
You may want to find a replacement for Mikey. He doesn’t represent your organization very well.

(name withheld)


Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Martin France

On Apr 24, 2020, at 6:59 AM, Martin France  wrote:


Vince, thanks for your response.  I’m an engineer and scientist, so when someone says “There’s a lot of BS in your comments, sir,” I always have to ask:  “Can you please tell me specifically what you find to be BS about advocating all members of the military follow Constitutional guidelines.”  Just saying something is BS doesn’t make it so anymore than saying your religion is the one and only truth path that all must follow makes it so.
When were you last “talking with Mikey?”
In reference to your Army service, there’s an old saying that “The fish never notices the water around them.”  In other words, it’s hard to see bias when you’re among the white, Christian, male majority in an overwhelming white, Christian, male-dominated organization.  You may never have felt like you were forced to pray, but since you’re a Christian (presumably) or at the very list someone who practices religion, prayer would never have felt uncomfortable to you.
I, and many others, come from a different perspective.  I am not Christian.  These days, LOTS of people aren’t Christian.  In fact,the largest single “religious group” in the nation are those that are “unchurched,” or do not identify with any religion.  They are “The Nones.”  I’m a “None” and so are every member of my family.  I have one son who says that I’m a “Cultural Christian,” meaning that we have big dinners and exchange gifts at Christmas, but make no religious connection with the holiday.  We generally follow most Judeo-Christian ethics, too, but not because of any belief in the validity of the Bible as prophecy or some god’s word.  My guess is that you could properly describe Mikey and most of his family as similarly “Culturally Jewish.”
So, for us, when are sons are ridiculed in the active duty military and as cadets at the US Air Force Academy because they do not go to “voluntary” Bible study or “optional” services, or feel isolated or marginalized when they are forced to pray when their commander asks all to bow their heads and appeal to a higher power–in which they do not believe–we see deeply-rooted, endemic bias that caps their potential and can infect an entire unit.  When one of us is denied even the chance to interview for a promotion job because our boss is an Evangelical Christian and we have declared that we are not–we pay a price.
I’m glad that you think that prayer has not negatively affected you in the your workplace, but please, for just a moment, try to imagine yourself suddenly working in an environment in which you are the only Christian and your boss and everyone else are atheists.  They make fun of Christians and their (seemingly) rabid belief in some imaginary sky god, tell you that you are wasting your time with religion, and insist that you work every Sunday.  Your boss promotes his atheist friends ahead of you and has a sign on his desk with the quote “Religion is the Opiate of the Masses.”  THAT would be a terribly toxic work environment–and wholly inappropriate.  In that case, the MRFF would come to your aid–if this was a military organization–because your rights were being violated.  Many of us experienced EXACTLY the same thing in the military, but from the opposite perspective.  That’s why we fight.  That’s why Mikey’s so effective–because he understands this kind of bias.  He sees the water.  And, for him and those he represents, it’s been poisoned.  He wants clear, pure, unadulterated water for everyone so that we’re all free to swim in the same sea with the same rights and privileges.  And to do that he, and others, must fight.  If that means that he needs to be a shark instead of a polite, bottom-dwelling flounder, then so be it.  When my rights are on the line, I like the shark on my side.
Thanks again for your very civil note–that’s rare among our critics.
Have a great day, and stay healthy.

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1 Comment

  1. Jeff

    General Compere: some people are too ignorant or dishonest to respond rationally to the facts and reason you provide to them.

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